White Line Disease
- I am not a vet.
- I am not a farrier.
- I am not a photographer – the photos posted here are from my cell phone, and the angulation viewed may be from my bad photography.
I am a horse owner who is trying to learn so that I can do the best for the animals I own.
I have a 13 year old Standardbred gelding who has been diagnosed with White Line Disease. There are many opinions regarding the disease, and this is the story of our journey.
White line disease has recently been linked to both opportunistic and anaerobic (thriving in the absence of oxygen) fungal infections in a hoof that in some way has been compromised. It can be a result of hoof care mistakes during shoeing, injury or an old hoof problem, excessive flares, laminitis or weak frogs – in other words, more than one way.
In Traveler’s example we think the compromise occurred in an area of the hoof that at one time had a small abscess from a nail that was a little too hot. A series of subsequent events created a perfect storm for the bacteria to take hold.
Two weeks before I went on my trip to Tennessee my horses were shod. I was gone on that trip for 9 days. During that time the care and cleaning of the barn and dry lot did not occur as expected.
Traveler is a barn horse, he would stay in there all day if you would allow it. Over the nine-day period there was a lot of muck built up in a stall where he stood for long periods of time and the heat and humidity helped to create a prime breeding ground for the creepies.
The farrier visit in July detected the condition. One thing I have noticed in articles I have read is the earlier detection of the condition determines a more favorable outcome.
The farrier and I opted for a short treatment window of two weeks. The cavity was cleaned out, treated with Koppertox and packed with a copper packing. I made an appointment at that time to have the vet and the farrier back for the recheck.
Due to the depth of the cavity it was impossible to tell if there was any bacteria present when the shoe and packing were removed. The one sure way to kill the bacteria is to expose it to air.
The compromised hoof wall had begun to crack and rather than allow an irregular break, we decided to go ahead and trim the weakened hoof wall, allowing us two things. One – control the break and two – trim above the top recess of the cavity to see if any bacteria remained.
The good news is that it did not look like there as any further compromise to the hoof. A bar shoe was made and secured with glue and nails. I am treating with Koppertox several times a week making sure the area stays dry and free of debris.
I share this information in hopes that it will help someone else seeking information.